Oviedo war hero’s story immortalized in a graphic novel

A local Army sergeant’s story has been immortalized forever—in comic book form.

Alwyn Cashe, from Oviedo, was in Samara, Iraq on Oct. 17, 2005, when a roadside bomb exploded next to the Bradley Fighting Vehicle he used while on patrol. He wasn’t injured in the initial blast but suffered burns to more than 70% of his body when he ran back into the vehicle to save the six soldiers who were trapped inside. Cashe refused to leave until all the other wounded soldiers were evacuated.

He succumbed to his injuries on Nov. 8, 2005, at the age of 35, and was laid to rest in Sanford.

“It’s just a tremendous story of sacrifice,” said Joseph Craig, Director, AUSA Book Program. “This is a man who was focused on his fellow soldiers, he took care of his people. And that was his sole concern at the time. He denied medical treatment until his fellow soldiers were taken care of first, he was the last to leave the battlefield. And to be able to go in over and over again into that burning vehicle. It’s just some amount of courage I can’t even fathom.”

In 2020, President Donald Trump signed legislation to allow Cashe to posthumously be awarded the Medal of Honor, an honor many said was long overdue.

And now, the Association of the United States Army has furthered Cashe’s legacy by making him the latest addition to their Medal of Honor graphic novel series.

“The whole idea is to reach a new generation of readers to help inform them about Army history and about Army values,” said Craig. “So, we tried to figure out a new way to tell the Army’s stories. We thought graphic novels would be an interesting way in reaching that generation. And it’s been very successful.”

Cashe’s graphic novel is the final 2023 book to be released, rounding out Volume 5, which also tells the stories of Edward Carter Jr., Samuel Woodfill and Bruce Crandall.

“The official citation for the Medal of Honor is kind of the core of the story. And then we kind of build it out from there to tell a little bit about their broader history. We do want to tell the official story. So, we use other Army and government documents to help round out their history. And then we vet the details with Army History biographers because we do recognize that these are important stories and we want to make sure we get the details right,” said Craig. “We are very careful working with the artists and with the historian to make sure we get all the details as correct as possible. Especially things on uniforms, weapons at the time. It’s really important to get those things right.”

The series started in October 2018, and the AUSA releases four per year. The full-color digital issues are eight pages long and profiles a different American hero. Once all the details are vetted and the scripting is approved, the AUSA works with professionals from the comic book industry to bring the stories to life.

“Once we’re good to go, we send that out to the artists and the art is actually done in several stages. So there’s someone who does the pencils and inks, then that goes to a color artist. And then finally, a lettering artist puts in the captions and dialogue,” said Craig. “So it goes through each stage, you know, the different levels of the artwork, again making sure we get the details right. The final piece is also checked again by all historians to make sure we’re telling the story accurately.”

All of the issues are available on the AUSA’s website, click here to find them.

“I think in today’s world there’s a growing separation between the civilian world and the military world. And anything we can do to help bridge that gap, help people understand how important the military is, how important the Army is, and keeping our country safe, I think it’s a good thing for everyone involved,” said Craig.

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